What started out as an idea by Wally Thurow in 1956 to offer something creative for the students of Sycamore has grown from a neighborhood display on his front yard into the town’s biggest city-wide event, beginning on Wednesday with the Opening Ceremony and cake cutting and concluding on Sunday afternoon with a parade.

The festival has over 1000 entries in the Lions Club Decorated Pumpkin Display, two carnivals, many not-for-profit vendors, three indoor craft shows, Saturday entertainment, and various activities, and it concludes on Sunday with a 90-minute  parade.  

Our History

Back in 1956, Wally Thurow, who is known as Sycamore’s “Mr. Pumpkin,” began what was to become the Sycamore Pumpkin Festival when he displayed a few decorated pumpkins on his front lawn to turn Halloween into a time of fun and creativity. In 1962, through the efforts of Mr. Pumpkin and the Sycamore Lions Club, the Sycamore Pumpkin Festival became an official celebration in Sycamore.

Every year, the Pumpkin Festival unites more than 30 DeKalb County not-for-profit groups, working to provide a weekend of Halloween fun for all. The Courthouse lawn is the center of activities, including thousands of decorated pumpkins on display, there are also art and craft shows, a house walk, a pie eating contest, a carnival, a fun fair, a race, and other events. The festival is concludes with a giant parade on Sunday afternoon.

Our Mission

The Sycamore Pumpkin Festival is a community celebration, showcasing our local not-for-profit organizations.

Our Purpose

The Sycamore Pumpkin Festival Committee is responsible for coordinating the annual Sycamore Pumpkin Festival, a family-oriented festival, to be held in the fall of each year. The festival promotes awareness of the City of Sycamore and provides and opportunity for DeKalb County not-for-profit organizations to participate in fund raising activities, community education, and enrichment.

🧡𝙊𝙣𝙡𝙮 6 𝙢𝙤𝙧𝙚 𝙎𝙪𝙣𝙙𝙖𝙮𝙨 𝙪𝙣𝙩𝙞𝙡 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙋𝙪𝙢𝙥𝙠𝙞𝙣 𝙋𝙖𝙧𝙖𝙙𝙚!🎃
The Sycamore Pumpkin Festival Committee is honored to announce Tim Carlson as the 2023 Grand Marshall for the Sycamore Pumpkin Festival Parade, in recognition of his unparalleled dedication to the community. 

Tim recently retired in June 2023 after an impressive 31-year career with the Sycamore School District. For the final 15 years of his tenure, he served as the esteemed Principal of Sycamore High School.

Tim’s impact extends beyond school administration; he’s also held various roles that contributed to the school district’s overall success. Over the years, he has been an Athletic Director, Head Coach for the Boy’s Basketball team, Drivers Education Instructor, Adaptive PE Teacher, Para-Professional, substitute teacher and even stepped in as a bus driver when needed.

Born and raised in DeKalb County, Tim is a proud alumnus of Malta High School, Kishwaukee College, and Northern Illinois University. He shares his life with his wife, Belinda, and is a devoted father to Ashley Mazzullo, Jenee Carlson, and Kylei Carlson. He’s also a loving stepfather to Dustin Fischer and Gracie Fischer.

Join us in celebrating Tim Carlson, a man who has dedicated his life to enriching the Sycamore community in countless ways.
The Sycamore Pumpkin Festival Committee is pleased to announce the 2023 Friend of the Festival, Jerry Malmassari. 

Jerry's involvement with the Sycamore Pumpkin Festival started back in 1964. His family moved to Sycamore in 1963, and his father joined the Sycamore Lions Club. He always had fun helping with the club’s Pumpkin Decorating Contest, which is where he got his start participating with the festival. 

Jerry graduated from Sycamore High School in 1967, Illinois State University in 1971, married in 1972, joined the Lions Club in 1981 and became its president in 1986. He and wife also had four children during this time.

Jerry served 8 terms as the Pumpkin Festival Committee President. To say the Pumpkin Festival has been a family event might be a little understated. His daughter Julie, his brother-in-law Rick, and his niece, Jennifer, have all served as presidents of the organization. Jerry's youngest son, Joshua, also served on the board.

"I will always cherish the 36 years and the many committee members I served with. To my family, thank you for all your support. I truly hope all the not-for-profit participating groups and the community continue to appreciate, support, and enjoy the Sycamore Pumpkin Festival as much as my family and I have. From my family to all of you, “Happy Sycamore Pumpkin Festival!” - Jerry
📣Pumpkin Parade Applicants 🎃

We have begun putting the parade lineup together and will send out your lineup information via the email you supplied on your application after October 15. 

Please make sure that you have submitted the following NO LATER THAN OCTOBER 1 to complete your application:

• COI for any motorized vehicle, including golf carts. These should list the Sycamore Pumpkin Festival Committee as an additional interest for Sunday, October 29, 2023. Please have your insurance agent indicate your organization’s name in the subject line and email them directly to PFestParade@gmail.com

• Payment-$30 for first vehicle, add’l. $15 for second vehicle. 
-Send checks to: 
Sycamore Pumpkin Festival Parade PO Box 262 
Sycamore, IL 60178

**Please utilize the 2023 theme, “Pumpkins of History,” when planning your entry decorations. Please keep in mind that the original intention of the festival and the parade was for the kids. Your unit is expected to be “crowd pleasing” in its decorations and/or performance.
📣Today’s the Day!🎃

Don’t miss out! 
Applications can be found at SycamorePumpkinFestival.com

Not-for-Profit Vendor Applications and Pumpkin Parade Applications are available NOW on our website SycamorePumpkinFestival.com!

#sycamorepumpkinfestival #sycamorepumpkinfest  #pumpkinparade
⏰🎃Pumpkin Festival Non-Profit Vendor Applications and Pumpkin Parade Applications are available NOW on our website SycamorePumpkinFestival.com!

All applications are due Friday, September 1, 2023.
📣🎃Pumpkin Festival Non-Profit Vendor Applications and Pumpkin Parade Applications are available NOW on our website SycamorePumpkinFestival.com!

All applications are due Friday, September 1, 2023.
🧡 14 Prettiest Towns in Illinois 🎃

(According to WorldAtlas.com…but we already knew that, right?🥰)

“A vacation to Sycamore screams nostalgia for visitors with its well-preserved architecture, including Victorian-style homes and historic landmarks. Paying a visit to the Ellwood House Museum is an excellent way to discover the town's uniqueness with its exhibits, expansive gardens, and incredible architecture. The Sycamore Park District, home to the Sycamore Golf Course and Splash Fountain Splash Pad, delivers fun and recreation in one place. Sycamore's annual Pumpkin Festival is a highlight, attracting thousands of visitors to enjoy parades, carnival rides, and pumpkin-themed activities.”

The 62 Annual Pumpkin Festival Parade Applications are available NOW on the Parade tab on our website - SycamorePumpkinFestival.com

This year’s theme is “Pumpkins of History.” Applications are due September 1, 2023, so get those float ideas started!
📣🎃ATTENTION DeKalb County Non Profits…Pumpkin Festival Vendor Applications are available NOW on our website SycamorePumpkinFestival.com on the Vendor tab.

All applications are due Friday, September 1, 2023.
And only 15 more Sundays until the 62nd Annual Sycamore Pumpkin Festival Parade!!

Applications for the Pumpkin Parade and DeKalb County non-profit vendors are available online at SycamorePumpkinFestival.com.